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Chrysler recalls Dodge Challengers for fire risk

Chrysler has issued an unusually dire warning to some owners of its Dodge Challenger muscle car warning them to park the vehicles until it can make repairs due to a risk of fire.

According to Chrysler, the wiring harness is the source of the problem due a batch of potentially mis-wired electrical components. If that’s the case, the harness can overheat and lead to a fire. The problem affects only those models equipped with a V-6 engine.

The maker says it so far received word of seven incidents involving the 2013 Dodge Challenger. It is warning motorists to park the vehicles outside of their garages and away from homes or other structures in case they do catch fire.

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The recall involves 4,459 of the coupes built between December 3 and January 24 of this year. Chrysler reports 2,500 have been delivered to customers, the rest still on dealer lots. The problem does not affect owners of Challenger models equipped with the maker’s bigger V-8 engines.

While automakers often take their time reaching out to customers involved in recalls, Chrysler is attempting to contact owners immediately by phone or mail to alert them to the problem. It says it will offer free loaners to affected owners until repairs can be made.

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The urgent warning is unusual but not unique. Last July, Ford Motor Co. warned 11,500 owners of the then-new 2013 Escape crossover to park their cars because of a defective fuel line that could split and lead to a fire.

In 2010, meanwhile, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he felt owners of some Toyota vehicles should park their vehicles due to a problem related to so-called unintended acceleration. The nation’s top automotive safety chief quickly reversed that recommendation, however.

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Chrysler plans to make repairs to the Challenger as quickly as possible at no charge to affected owners.

The maker advises owners of 2013 Challengers equipped with V-6 engines to call their dealer to determine if their vehicles are covered by the recall.